Melesse Tamiru, Damen Hailemariam, Getnet Mitike
Although subsistence agriculture is the major economic activity, parents want to have large number of children to get assistance in farming activities as well as economic support during old ages. Women’s fertility and HIV infection are not independent of one another. Conditions and behaviors producing high levels of fertility are also likely to bear upon rural women’s ‘likelihood of acquiring HIV. We investigated the association between perceived HIV risk and child mortality by the desire to have children among married women in rural Ethiopia. A cross-sectional sample of 1,380 married women age 18-49 years was randomly selected from the rural kebeles of Bure woreda. One eligible subject was randomly selected per household for a structured interview on factors associated with desire for future pregnancy. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version17. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to investigate the association between self-perceived risk for HIV infection and child mortality by the desire for a future pregnancy. Overall, 32 % of subjects expressed desire to get pregnant in future, 8.8 % perceived themselves at high risk for HIV infection and 26.7% reported the death of at least one child in past five years. In multiple logistic regression analysis, reporting at least one child's death (OR=6.92; 95% CI 4.91- 9.47) was significantly associated with a higher desire to get pregnant and high perceived risk for HIV infection (OR=2.08; 95% CI 1.35-3.19) was found to be associated with a high desire to get pregnant. Being currently married, having no education, being of low parity and having low household income were significantly associated with having the desire for more children. High perceived risk for HIV infection was not associated with lower desire for future pregnancy. Moreover women seem to have higher desire for future pregnancy to replace childhood deaths that may result from HIV infection. Further research is needed to explore utilitarian-economic, social and psychological values attributed to children by women and their partners.
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